Former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham believes he will not be surprised to see Mark Hughes linked with jobs at Chelsea or Manchester United in the future, if he continues to impress at Stoke City. Hughes took the job at the Britannia Stadium in the summer of 2013 and has since transformed the way the Potters play.
During his time at Stoke, the Welshman attracted Champions League players, including the likes of former Barcelona duo Bojan Krkic and Ibrahim Afellay, along with ex Bayern Munich and Inter Milan attacker Xherdan Shaqiri and Giannelli Imbula. The Frenchman arrived from FC Porto in the January transfer window, while the latter two cost Hughes' side over £30m ($43.6m) in transfer fees.
The Stoke boss was linked with a move to Chelsea after the Blues sacked Jose Mourinho last December. However, he snubbed a chance join his former club, where he played for three years between 1995 and 1998, following his exit from Manchester United.
Injuries to key central defenders like Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron and Marc Wilson, along with Charlie Adam have seen the Potters struggle in recent times as they are without a win in the last five fixtures. Higginbotham has claimed that Hughes has the potential to go on to manage top Premier League clubs and the more success Stoke achieve under his time will only see his reputation improve in the future.
Speaking exclusively to IBTimes UK, Higginbothams said: "Mark Hughes has played for Chelsea and there is always going to be a link there. In the future, there may be a link to Manchester United because he was a legend there."
"Well, his name was linked with the Chelsea job after Mourinho. What he is doing at Stoke City is absolutely brilliant. Ok, he's signed Imbula recently and Shaqiri. But other than that, he has not gone out and spent vast amount of money," he said on Hughes' performance at Stoke.
"He [Hughes] has transformed the team, the way they used to play. They have attracted fantastic players as well. The more success Stoke City get, there will be more speculation surrounding Hughes' future because his reputation will only keep getting better."
"I think what he has shown at Stoke City, is that he is a fantastic manager. If he can get the team to play a style that he wants to play to be successful, then I don't see why in the coming years, if he continues to do as well as he is doing, should he not be linked to big clubs," the former Stoke and Southampton man explained.